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So Now What?
Cyberattacks are most often associated with data breaches or data theft. It’s a big deal to us when our credit card information is stolen, our social security numbers are ripped off and someone pretends to be us as they tool around the country in a rented convertible on our tab. You’re welcome.
But the bad guys can do more than shop. They can cause actual physical harm to property, businesses and human beings by hacking their way into machinery, appliances, toys, drones and medical devices.
On Dec. 1, 2016, the BBC® reported findings by researchers at the University of Leuven in Belgium and the University of Birmingham in England of “fatal” flaws in the radio-based communications systems of 10 different types of medical implants, including pacemakers.
“The consequences of these attacks can be fatal for patients as these messages can contain commands to deliver a shock or to disable a therapy,” the researchers warned. One of them, decidedly understated cardiologist Rik Willems of Leuven, told BBC that “security must urgently improve.” (Fatal Flaws Found in Medical Implant Software, BBC, Dec. 1, 2016.)
This stuff actually happens, and has been happening more and more this millennium. Because so much is run remotely over the internet, things we don’t even think about anymore, the threat is real.
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